Friday, December 16, 2016

Now Faith is Confidence...

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

I've heard it said that a person can live longer without oxygen than he can without hope. Here's hoping you never have to face that dilemma.

But hope, one of the powerful benefits of the Christmas Story is essential not only for your physical existence but also for your spiritual life. Hope is vital because it is foundational to faith.

That truth becomes evident as you study the account of faith heroes in Hebrews 11. Let's examine a few of these accounts by adding the phrase "in hope" and see what it does to the Scripture:

"By faith ("in hope") Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead." Hebrews 11:4

Why did Abel offer his sacrifice in obedience to God's command? Was it because He hoped to please and honor God? Did that hope inspire his faith?

I think so!

When God wants to increase your faith He speaks hope into your spirit.

"By faith ("in hope") Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith." Hebrews 11:7

What drives a farmer to become a ship-builder who has never seen a ship, has never seen rain and doesn't really know what a flood is? It was the hope that he could save his family from destruction! He feared God's judgment and hoped in God's promise of mercy for his family. Could hope be the anti-dote for fear?

I think so!

When God wants to strengthen your faith and help you overcome your fear He speaks hope into your heart!

"By faith ("in hope) Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith ("in hope") he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents,as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations,whose architect and builder is God." Hebrews 11:8-10

What would possess someone who is living quite comfortably in his home town surrounded securely by family members suddenly pick up everything and head off into the wilderness for an unknown destination? Could have been the hope of a bigger and better life? Was it possibly the hope from a promise God spoke into Abram's spirit?

I think so!

When God wants to increase your faith He speaks hope into your spirit!

You can apply this paradigm to each faith hero throughout this moving chapter and I believe you will find it works!

Hope precedes faith!

Hope came down at Christmas!

Hope has a name and it's Jesus!